Sunday 23 October 2016

Siobhan Byrne: Giving a hoot for the glutes

Modern life can take a toll on your glutes, but you can fight back with simple exercises

Siobhan Byrne

Published 30/06/2015 | 02:30

Siobhan Byrne: when the glutes are weak, it can put a strain on the back. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan
Siobhan Byrne: when the glutes are weak, it can put a strain on the back. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan
Reverse lunge step one
Reverse lunge step two
Curtsey lunge step one
Curtsey lunge step two
Prisoner squat step one
Prisoner squat step two
Glute bridge march step one
Glute bridge march step two
Glute bridge march step three
Glute bridge march step four
Single leg hip extension step one
Single leg hip extension step two

Last week we spoke about how glutes are the largest muscle group in the body, and one of the most powerful, but they can be underutilised. One of the main reasons for this is our sedentary lifestyles - all that sitting round.

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Exercises such as stair climbs and hill walks work primarily on the glutes. When the glutes are weak, it can cause a tilt on the pelvis, putting strain on the back and affecting the abdomen.

If you struggle with engaging your glutes, or you would like to focus on toning them, a useful way of making sure your glutes are being worked is to fatigue your quads first. Most people will naturally do this with leg exercises, but they fail to follow this up with work on glutes.

When working on this area, use a mixture of moderate to heavy weights, combined with functional work such as stair climbs, for a toned butt. Look to work the area at least once a week for noticeable results.

Reverse lunge

1/ Start by standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your fingers locked behind your head.

2/ Bend at the hips and knees to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then push back up to the starting position and repeat.

Prisoner squat

1/ Stand upright (you can hold dumbbells) with your arms straight.

2/ Take a step backward, dropping your back knee to the floor and leaning your torso slightly forward with your weight on your front leg. Push off your front foot to return to the starting position.

Curtsy squat

1/ Start by standing upright with your feet hip-width apart.

2/ Step behind and across into a curtsy position, lowering your body down towards the ground.

Glute bridge march

1/ Lay on your back with knees bent, feet flat and arms by sides.

2/ Raise your hips up off the floor so you have a straight line from shoulders to hips.

3/ Raise one leg to a 90 degree angle, lower the body down and repeat on the opposite leg, swapping sides as you go.

Single leg hip extension

1/ Lay mid-back on a step or the floor with your knees bent and hands down by your side.

2/ Raise one leg slightly off the ground and bridge your hips, so your hips and glutes are elevated off the ground. Dip your hips down toward the ground, then push back up to bridge position.

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